Apartment Complex — Unwired

Summary: My landlord was looking for a way to get an edge on the competition for our small apartment complex. I suggested wireless broadband. Various wacky hijinks ensue, and in the end, no one goes to jail. Or they wouldn’t have, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids and that darned dog! (Well, ok, OK, maybe it’s less exciting than the average Scooby Doo episode, but it’s interesting nonetheless).

This is a bit long, so I’ll dump it off to another page. Enjoy!

An Idea

th SatelliteMap Apartment Complex    Unwired

“You have any ideas to help me fill these apartments up?”

That’s how it started. My landlord is an entrepreneur and I’d already done one website for one of his companies and we’d just agreed to do one for my apartment complex as well. After brainstorming about content for the website, he said that one of his primary reasons for wanting a redesign was that he had 5 empty units out of only 48 available in the 4 building complex, and competition is tight. He wanted to fill them up and keep them filled. He was soliciting more ideas.

Now, one of the main reasons I moved into this place was that it had cable internet available when all you could get at any of the other places in town was dialup or a share of a single T1 split between 250+ units for more than the cost of cable. So I offered what would, given that the population of the complex is primarily retired people not quite ready for the nursing home, seem an odd suggestion. Give everyone free broadband and email on the apartments domain (free advertising!).

Of course, with comcast running $60+ a month after taxes, giving everyone their own comcast account wasn’t an option, and with 4 very solid brick buildings, running ethernet would have been an expensive option. So why not WiFi?

The landlord, having once run his own ISP and having been a wireless user in some fashion since way before 802.11b came around, jumped on the idea, and a concept was born.

But how to implement this idea? It took some doing.


Initial Research

I researched and researched, and decided that what we needed was a central point with a good omnidirectional antenna and maybe a directional pointing at the furthest corner. We spent about $60 for an 8dBi Omni from DeMarc Technologies. We hooked it up to the brand new (at the time) Linksys WRT54G — 802.11g Router. In our initial tests, this worked great. Our signal actually was accessible a few blocks from the apartment complex if you had a decent antenna. I had a good-to-excellent connection using my ibook from just about any public part of the buildings, and from anywhere in my apartment.

th antenna Apartment Complex    Unwired

Sadly, though, not everyone has something as strong as the airport card, or with as good an antenna. This, we discovered when we hooked up our first test user. We’d chosen a Linksys WMP54G. This was a dreadful mistake. Yes, let’s put the antenna for the wireless connection conveniently behind several sheets of steel intended to insulate against RF interference. Zero connection, after taking the lady’s computer apart and installing it. And then it was our fault whenever anything went wrong with her decrepit old spyware infested computer trying to run AOL 9 on 64 megs of memory. This was not an auspicious beginning to the project.

After further testing with other laptops, we determined that the central access simply wasn’t strong enough. Brick is a marvelously good insulator against wifi, and wet brick even more so. We had to bring the transmission inside the buildings… but we didn’t want to have 4 seperate connections.


A Better Solution

We looked for a good repeater, but at the time, the only ones you could find cost many hundreds each, more than we were willing to spend for something with no direct ROI. I was considering using a Linksys WAP11 + WET11 connection to bridge and repeat, but the power didn’t seem acceptable given the cost… and then I came across this Seattle Wireless page about Senao, a taiwanese company that makes powerful and sensitive wifi equipment available for excellent prices. And I had an idea.

th patch Apartment Complex    Unwired

We’d order 4 flat patch antennas (8 dBi, 75 degree directional), drill a hole through the outer brick wall in the laundry room of each building, and mount the antennas, pointing at the central omni. We’d then connect each antenna to a Senao NL-2611CB3 PLUS Wireless Bridge, which would in turn be connected to a NL-2611AP3 PLUS Wireless Access Point (the two are absolutely identical hardware with different firmware, one has a sticker over the other one’s name, just buy whichever’s cheaper and flash it yourself). Each of these units features 200mW of output and excellent sensitivity. We’re still experimenting with the optimal antenna pattern, since they’re on the first floor of a three story building. We have to keep the antenna gain low so it rises high enough to cover the third floor, but high enough that it can reach that far through the floor.

senao Apartment Complex    Unwired

I should also note that we tried switching out the stock Linksys firmware for the modified versions from WiFi Box and Sveasoft. The Sveasoft just wouldn’t work properly, the WiFi Box worked nicely, but hasn’t been updated since Linksys released some much improved firmware, so we switched back to the Linksys for now.

th hawking Apartment Complex    Unwired

End user equipment — the residents with desktops are using either a linksys WUSB11 or a Hawking H-WU36D (a directional USB adapter). The residents with laptops are mostly using whatever came with their laptops, though a couple are using the Senao NL-2511CD PLUS EXT2 PC Card.


The Payoff

th apartments Apartment Complex    Unwired

The end result? Residents with laptops can sit down beside the river and work or play online in a calm, scenic outdoor setting, with the same high speed access they have in their apartments. Residents aren’t stuck with dialup, and fixed income residents can now experience the Internet for free, a feature they very much appreciate. They can video conference with their grandchildren and research anything that strikes their fancy, at speeds averaging 4-5 times dialup in busy times.

It’s working very nicely, and the complex is full. Other units that have vacated have been filled, with the final selling point often being the free broadband. And the website has brought in a good number of residents and lots of inquiries about future openings. It’s a pretty competitive market, and this complex isn’t big enough to do much advertising (I think we have a couple of bus benches which include the URL, which is how I found the place, driving by one).

As of now, though, we have I think 20 computers online, and plan to eventually add 4 older machines, one in each laundry room, for residents who don’t have PCs of their own. I’m also thinking about putting in a “LaundryCam” in homage to the original coffee cam, allowing residents to see if the laundry equipment is in use before they lug their laundry downstairs… more because it’s an unusual thing they won’t find elsewhere than because I think it will be used much, but hey, who knows? :-)

Oh, and did I mention… we haven’t even put up any flyers to advertise the service to residents yet? Everything so far is word of mouth. The landlord is worried that if we advertise, he’ll get so many people at once he won’t be able to get them set up fast enough. All in all, a very successful experiment.

Please feel free to post any questions or comments below.

Comments

  1. I wish my apartment complex would do that. Oh, and maybe get some parking.

    But, as long as my landlord doesn’t provide wireless, I might have to let neighbors onto my network for a certain buy in (to, you know, off set costs). :)

  2. Can regulate the usage of the network? What I mean is can you control who has access to it and what not? Are you using WEP at all (not the most secure protocol in the world, but…)?

  3. Nicole -
    It wasn’t really that expensive, either, at least as a business expense. Figure one vacant apartment costs $600 a month… total equipment cost was about $1000-$1200 for the buildings, and $50-$100 per PC (paid mostly by the clients). Then we pay ~$60 per month for broadband, which is only about $15-$20 more than they were previously paying for aol and a second phone line for the central office and gives them the ability to login to their maintenance site from resident’s apartments using a laptop with wifi when they need to… much more efficient. So the equipment payed for itself just by filling one apartment for 2 months or so… and the broadband pays for itself in increased efficiency. It’s definitely doable if your apartment complex is small enough that a setup like this will work. If it’s larger, you’d probably need more than one connection and some meshing equipment or something…

  4. Scrivs – Can we regulate it — yes. Are we? Not yet. We’re broadcasting the SSID and not using any encryption, but we are monitoring the systems connecting to it, to some extent. When we set up a user, we change their computer name to their address… like 3520_C12… or if they have multiple computers, something like 3520_C12_ibook, 3520_c12_desktopDell, 3520_c12_desktopHP. Only problem is some wireless equipment doesn’t broadcast it properly. On any given day we have 3-4 connections which aren’t named properly, and at least a couple are definitely residents who hooked themselves up.

    I’d really like something that could plug in between the router and the web connection or between an access point and a router if we had to go that route, something that would show which connections are using how much bandwidth, peak usage, the same basic kind of stuff a website log would show.
    And down the line once some of that custom firmware shapes up (excuse the pun) I’ll look into using it again since it offers packet shaping (yeah, ok, bad pun) and other sorts of controls.

  5. hack6500 says:

    JC,
    great writeup and good ideas. as for your administrator box (between your router and web connection) might i suggest this: get an old pentium class PC with 2 PCI NIC’s and 128mb of memory. Install a linux distribution (fedora2 is fine but bloated, debian stable would be my pick) install MRTG, netfilter, apache, and bridge-utils.
    MRTG will report fancy graphical data of your netusage, accessable via the apache webserver. the bridge-utils can be used to transfer packets between your network and your broadband transparently, and if you get really into it, netfilter (iptables) will provide firewalling/filtering of those packets you choose to mess with. not an easy task for a linux-newbie, but from the sounds of things you are a smart cookie, so I have faith in the fact that “you can do it!!”
    start small and work your way up, you can really demo this kind of setup between any network connection. Remember google is your friend!!

  6. Depending on how secure you want the network to be, you can limit access based on the MAC address of each machine. This will require an update to the configuration each time someone moves in or buys a new PC, but will save you the trouble of having to rename people’s computers (an issue if the laptop is also used on a work domain).
    By the way, I’m curious if your broadband connection contract is aware that you’re sharing the account with multiple dwellings. Most contracts prohibit people running their own ISP and/or sharing the connection. Not that I’m against sharing it, but it could be a future problem is they suddenly declare you in breach of contract and kill the service.

  7. Hack – I was thinking of something like that, but I’m not sure if it’ll work because the router provides DHCP, so I think the bit between the router and the network connection is down to a single IP address. I think I can turn off the DHCP there and have a box in-between provide it, but I’m not sure. Alternatively I could do AP -> admin box -> router -> web connection I suppose. I have a non-wifi router here and can pick up another senao AP for about 100 bucks.

    Would it provide log files identical to normal webserver log files? I have this nice piece of software called FunnelWeb Enterprise that I use for websites and we’ve used at work on the border manager logs.

  8. Another thing you may want to think about is NoCat or other captive portal systems. Here in Portland OR we use NoCat primarily to show the users of our 100+ nodes some info on where they are connecting to and a simple AUP (ie dont break things and dont do crimes).

    While we dont use it, there are functions for username/passsword authentication such that you can have an open Guest account that would have limited bandwidth or ports and then more open Authenticated accounts.

    There are lots of options.

    Hats off for spreading the open community netowrking. As a node owner in a residential area I have also been loving setting my neighbors up to use my shared resources and get off the Comcast/MSN junk.

    Keep up the good work.

    -tomhiggins

  9. Zizzybaloobah says:

    Crash’s comments reflect my own concern about this project and I know somebody thinking about doing something similar the samething in their neighborhood — why should senior citizens have to pay so much when they probably don’t use that much bandwith?

  10. Crash – we considered the MAC thing, but decided against it because we want people visiting to be able to access, too, without our intervention.

    At this point, I think what we’ll end up doing is hiding the SSID and maybe implementing WEP, and posting access instructions in the laundry rooms. Most people aren’t tech savvy, and can get help from someone who is there, but if someone’s visiting a friend and brings their wifi equipped laptop, they should be at least savvy enough to follow instructions to enable their connection.

    One of the reasons I want the reporting thing is so we can determine if someone’s abusing the system, and if that happens, we can lock it down by MAC.

    What I *might* do is just do WEP and hide the SSID on the central access point. The ones in the buildings don’t extend very far outside them, maybe a hundred feet, whereas the one in the center can be accessed from several blocks away with a decent antenna.

    The broadband provider.. is sort of aware. They’ve changed to a new company since we discussed it with them. The official use is for the employees of the apartment complex, and for the 4 PCs that may eventually end up in the laundry rooms. Basically they didn’t have a business package and OK’d the residential package.

    But since we’re not charging for it, they can’t do anything other than tell us to stop sharing it. I know the guy who was in charge of the region and still is and he basically said, in an unofficial capacity “don’t rub our faces in it and no one will care”

  11. Tom – You have a link for the nocat thing or do I have to sacrifice a question on the Oracle of Google?

  12. oh… duh, yeah, nocat.net. I had their einstein quote as my message board signature for a while, but when I looked at them initially it wasn’t quite ready for showtime yet.

  13. Beagle Brotha says:

    Comcast does not allow you to be a good neighbor. Period.

    Read your TOS then ask yourself if this is where you want your money going.

    A common problem is that in many places Comcast or other TOS nazis are the only option. What to do? That is a tough question and your answer all sits with where you put the most weight, being 100% legal or being a good neighbor.

  14. Of course, there’s always this factor to consider. (open wifi == plausible deniability)
    “Dear Comcast, I am so sorry. I had no idea that copyrighted works were being downloaded via my IP address; I have a wireless router at home and it’s possible that someone may have been using my connection at the time. I will do my best to secure this notoriously vulnerable technology, but I can make no guarantee that hackers will not exploit my network in the future.”

  15. There are several good options to learning about NoCat and what it can do for your network.

    At the PTP (Personal Telco Project ) we are working up some easy to follow instructions for turning a low end PC with two nics and an AP into a NoCat gateway/Server/Router. While its still rough folks have been able to use these instructions to get a working box up (Instructions)

    The fella who runs the PublicIP project did up a special bootable iso for us to test out and might be a good way for you to get your feet wet (iso)

    The other way to test it out is to grab a wrt54g and flash it with the new Ewrt firmware (firmware) that adds nocat and some other goodies to the linksys.

    Of course you could just hit the Nocat site and plunge in from the source.

    I hope this helps some.

    -tomhiggins

  16. Great story! FYI, we have a similar setup in the Golden Hill Neighborhood of San Diego.

    http://www.goldenhillfreeweb.org

    This is growing slowly as other landlords get in on the the project – now we have 5 APs covering a 3 x 6 block residential area.

    This project inspired a grander project at http://www.socalfreenet.org which we hope will inspire other neighboorhoods to do similar.

    Thanks again for the great writeup!

    cheers, michael

  17. C’mon, you can do better than a Laundry Cam:

    http://www.laundryview.com/

  18. I should note, I mentioned comcast in the story because when we were initially looking a year and a half ago they were the only broadband provider in the area, not because we’re using them. There are quite a few available now… I think 4 or 5 different DSL providers, a half dozen wireless broadband systems, and one company selling T1s at a really reasonable rate… for a T1, anyway. (though we’d have to charge a fee to residents if we went with that option… )

  19. Hmm. Laundryview.com doesn’t work, for some reason.. but if you go to index.php, it does. Heh. No way am I going to do somethign that in-depth. But cool idea anyway. I’m sure it’s very useful in college dorms or larger buildings.

  20. Hey, if you’re worried about the sharing ramifications, there are cool ISPs who will work with you. My ISP, Speakeasy.net allows WiFi sharing. Encourages it, in fact. The system that they have set up now is different from what you do, but you never know what you might work out… check ‘em out: Speakeasy.net They are giving away an iPod for sign up, and do referral rewards too. But I wouldn’t hawk ‘em if I were unhappy. I certainly appreciated the tripling of my download speed for no additional cost.

  21. How is your bandwidth holding up as the number of users increase? Although I doubt too many of the senior citizens are downloading illegal mp3′s, at some point I would expect you to notice a slowdown. If you have any solutions (possibly integrating two high-speed connections?), let us know.

  22. Hi BC – Thanks for the referral! Not too worried about it though… from my limited testing, we don’t seem to be using much bandwidth, probably alot less than I did when I had my own broadband connection and used p2p software.
    Which answers your question as well, Crash.
    I’m not worried about a slowdown, because the project is limited in scope. It’s not a typical wisp situation, because there are only 48 units, of which probably 1/2 to 2/3 have computers, and only a few have more than one. The place is mostly old people, a few police officers and maybe 4 or 5 units have younger people, myself included. Most of the people here only get online to check email or research things. I do want to install some of the stuff mentioned in comments above to make sure things stay under control.

    If we did need a second connection we could probably use some meshing stuff, it’s not something I’ve given alot of thought to. One thing I’d like to do along those lines at some point is set up WDS (I think that’s what it was…) so that all the access points can have the same name and cards can transparently choose whichever one has the strongest connection at any given moment (for people whose apartments face the center, the central point is often stronger than the internal one).

    On most networks, the solution for a problem like you describe is probably bandwidth trottling, packet shaping, port/application blocking, that sort of thing… unless there’s a real saturation, it’s usually going to be an individual or a few of them using p2p or something. Of course, here, we’d just have a little talk with the person in question and suggest they get a private broadband connection or stop using p2p (or whatever is sucking bandwidth)

  23. My friends have great solution. They formed the company to provide internet in apartment complexes. Nowadays internet is no more luxury. It should be one of the amenities in apartment complexes. NoWires is a new energetic company to provide internet to apartment complexes which is cheap for landlord to afford. If you need any information, please email me.

    Thanks,
    Korak

  24. How much bandwidth do you need to start with? For 100 units, do you need a T1?

  25. Just have to figure what your peak load will be, and how fast you want it to be under peak load. Figuring the peak load is the hard part, of course. The absolute peak load for my complex, if I want the minimum speed at 128 down per unit, is 6. But not everyone has computers, not everyone would be using them at the same time, and web surfing and email generate infrequent small requests, so you have lots of leeway if you don’t have lots of people doing streaming video, big downloads, etc. There’s probably a formula out there somewhere, but I don’t know what it is. :-) If you can get business broadband that isn’t a T-1, it’s probably a more economical choice… you probably don’t need the extra upstream bandwidth a T line provides unless you’re running webservers, too. Several folks have recommended speakeasy, might want to check and see if they have any offerings in your area.

  26. Good work. My company actually offers similar systems to apartment complex owners who don’t have an enterprising tenant like you. We feel that it is a great value added service for Multi-Tenant Offices and Multi-Dwelling Units. We are located in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

    Newmind Group

  27. Peter from Seattle Wireless TV, we think this would make an interesting segment for the show.

    Contact us, see if we can work something out.

  28. Greetings

  29. Hey JC, I own a PC repair business and just had this exact idea a few months ago. I am glad to see that my thoughts have been put into play somewhere. So, it’s really as easy as getting an AP and adding some repeaters as necessary? Do you think the same logic could apply to making an entire wireless housing development?

  30. I’m setting up the same thing but i’m stumped about the type of cable to use between the linksys wrt54g and the omni antenna.

    should i use rg59, rg6, or some other type?

  31. Indeed, the article was really information. I was lucky to find it since my apartment complex manager asked me to implement wireless internet in out 30 unit 180 feet long apartment complex. I was wondering if any1 can summerize what equipment do I need and steps towards installing and running the network successfully

    Thanks

  32. earlneo says:

    nice articles. anyways, i have a question. currently i just moved in to a new 15th floors 3 blocks apartments. i plan to cover all 3 blocks with wifi. any suggestion how to do it in correct way?

  33. JC
    All of the postings here and the original article are very good and very positive. I enjoyed reading every posting. However I do have one question regarding the orginal setup you used. Is there any kind of computer between the incoming ISP service and the access point or router?

  34. Earlno – that’s several orders of magnitude larger than what I did, but it should scale. You may want to have repeaters in there somewhere. I don’t know.

    Jen -
    Talk to a lawyer, not a geek.

    James – No. The antenna hooks up to the router directly. We do have one computer hooked up to the router via cable rather than wireless, because they’re in the same room,a nd because it lets us access the router even if everything else isnt working properly

  35. I left that up to him, Jen… he used to run an ISP, he knows about that stuff. My understanding of it was that the provider is not responsible for what the user accesses, so nothing extra is required.

  36. You know, that’s what I was thinking. Don’t they go after IP addresses in those kinds of stings?

    I’m going to be small potatoes landlord, just buying a duplex so I can afford to live in the good school districts in the city. Once I can afford the note I’m convertin the suckah back to a regular home (most are old homes made into duplexes). But the last thing I want is to lose the place because Big Brother decided to take me down with the perv who rented my place.

    Thanks,

    Jen

  37. Salutations

  38. No port Isolation…hummmmmmmm? Not very cool to not authenticate users. What happens in the event a terrorist decides to use your open network to send info to the other side? Why can jane see my files? This requires much more thought.

  39. I just found your website because I have been asked to provide a quote to cover a large apartment building with multiple floors. My main challenge will be to cover the building from top to bottom. I have though about using the new Linksys SRX Wireless devices, I tested one yesterday and the coverage is AMAZING. I might install one (SRX400) at ground level and a bridge on the roof to pickup the signal, bring it back into the building and have a second unit (SRX400) mounted inside the building but below the roof.

    I will post a project link once I get the OK from my customer.

  40. Check out these guys, they do wireless internet access solutions for hotels and apartment complexes, good value for money and makes access management very simple.

    http://www.flexsys-group.com/broadband-internet-hotel-hotspots/griffin-internet.php

  41. This is groovy… How much does it all cost to put together? What’s the directional range of those access points and the wireless cards for the laptops? Can the accesspoints and cards run in ad-hoc mode?

  42. skip gundlach says:

    This is a very long comment, really deserving of a separate post. However, the original poster did exactly what I’m trying to do with one exception: the Bridge unit is connected directly to the Comcast feed, making selection from among available remote APs (rather than a known or direct feed such as the comcast) unnecessary.

    Below is a statement of my situation. Salient points to the apartment installation are IP conflicts, as well as surfing/communicating abilities which I have not been able to achieve.

    As geeks, those with direct experience in this sort of thing are entreated to please mail me direct at skipgundlach at gmail dot com as to how to resolve my challenges before giving up and crushing the units in frustration. TIA

    Good day…

    Over a year ago, I was sold two 2611CB3 Plus MD units, neither of which
    individually appear to work properly nor in the configuration they were sold
    to me. Both of these have been flashed with the current firmware. Both,
    when returned to factory default by power-cycling button resets, will
    successfully communicate over ethernet for configuration, except when placed
    in DHCP mode, of course, which makes addressing them via web interface
    impossible. (Or, at least, that’s the response I get. *IS* it possible to
    address and configure these units if they have been set to DHCP?)

    There are two separate issues, as seen below. I have about worn out the CD
    and owner’s manual trying every possible configuration to make this work.
    Perhaps you’ll be able to better shed light on these problems than the
    vendor, who has refused to support them or accept them for return.
    Likewise, all the internet user groups in which I’ve posed this problem have
    failed to successfully address these issues. I’m hopeful you’ll have the
    answers.

    The application for which these were sold is to install in a weatherproof
    enclosure at the top of a sailboat mast, powered directly by 12V, but
    otherwise inaccessible, so doing a button reset to factory default is out of
    the question. The stated objective was to allow a wifi device (such as my
    laptop)
    to be able to communicate with a shoreside AP in essentially the same
    fashion as if my laptop were within the included wifi antena range of that
    same AP. At the same time, it was specified that I wanted to be able to
    select from available APs in the event there were more than one, as the
    strongest might not be the one with which I wanted to associate. The
    preferred method of selection was the Windows Zero Configuration tool or
    another configuration tool provided by an antenna vendor. It’s apparent the
    vendor did not verify those parameters as to performance of these units
    before selling me them, and/or neither he nor I have been able to discover
    how it is supposed to be configured in order to allow that specification to
    succeed.

    With that as background, here are the two issues:

    Regardless of the settings used, whether static or dhcp, multipoint or
    point-point, channel designations, “any” or specified SSID, and IP and
    subnet families used, when the two units are connected, one as Bridge and
    the other as AP, IP error messages occur, the Windows XP device manager
    shows errors on the devices seen, and they don’t perform.

    The vendor asserts that there are IP conflicts because of my machine, and
    that I must engage a Microsoft Certified Network Analyst to resolve the
    conflicts in my machine. However, every machine in which this has been
    attempted responds in the same fashion, so I do not believe the fault lies
    with my machine. Either that is not the problem, or these units cannot be
    used with standard computers, out of the box.

    Many failed attempts at resolution were done by telephone conference,
    following exactly the instructions of the vendor. After those failures, he
    asked me to send them back (not for refund, but for verification).

    As configured by the vendor, he says he set the bridge unit to
    192.168.1.100, “any” SSID, using the ethernet web interface, and
    successfully surfed. He then indicates he connected the Access Point unit
    (which he named “flying pig”) to the bridge IP (method of connection not
    specified, but assumed to be crossover ethernet cable). He asserts that
    these connect to the internet and surf. He asserts that he set his
    computer’s wifi configuration utility to connect to “flying pig” (the 2611
    configured as access point) and successfully surfed. Of course, the
    strongest signal was from his router on his desk, so – assuming he actually
    succeeded in that – the AP it was associating was suitable to him. However,
    when he returned the units to me in that configuration, I could not
    communicate with the units, nor specify any AP with which to associate.
    Without that ability, they are useless to me.

    So, the first issue is that these relentlessly provide IP conflict messages.
    Associated with that is – assuming the IP conflict can be resolved – the
    inability to select from available APs or configure the Bridge to associate
    with a specific AP once connected to the other 2611 unit, over a wireless
    connection. Can these issues be resolved?

    The second issue is that, given the above failures, I attempted to make the
    units perform as wired bridges. That is, giving up the ability to connect
    via the wifi card in my computer, one at a time, I connected the unit via
    ethernet. In a testing mode, where the unit is on the bench, of course, I
    can do a pushbutton reset to factory default. However, in their intended
    installation (inside a sealed box, in an inaccessible location), that will
    be impossible. So, they have to work reliably before that installation. I
    left the IP and subnet settings in the factory default, and set my ethernet
    card to the same IP and subnet families. I used a high gain antenna to see
    the various APs available in the test neighborhood. I am currently
    successfully associated with a variety of APs over a USB antenna, and can
    see a multiple of APs available, so have those as benchmarks for these
    tests. This message is being sent via one of those connections, so we have
    a known good AP, communications link and ability to
    surf, mail, ping, tracert, VoIP and other internet functions from this
    location. With this as a basis, I attempted to make these units work as
    ethernet-connected bridges.

    Setting the unit to the bridge mode, I continued, trying every possible
    variety of setting. Regardless of what ever other connection parameters
    were used, in one unit, no APs were seen in scans. In the other, irregular
    results were seen. Sometimes, the expected APs were seen, in others, none.
    When attempting to associate with APs when they *were* seen, the “any”
    setting on the SSID block reliably, in many attempts, yielded association
    with an AP that did not have the strongest signal. (Each time it associated
    with the same AP which was not the strongest signal.) When specifying the
    SSID, it usually would associate with the correct AP.

    However, in no case, whether left in the specified IP mode or when returning
    the NIC to dhcp, would the unit surf, mail or otherwise pass data. Nor
    would attempting to renew the connection (ipconfig /release, ipconfig
    /renew) succeed – the release succeeded (or returned a message that it was
    already released) but the renew would hang up and fail, whether done through
    command line interface or the “repair” function of Windows XP.

    Also, when these units are placed in DHCP (vs static address) mode, no
    communication is possible for configuration, whether I set my NIC to a
    specified IP or DHCP. Reset via button to factory default is the only way
    I’ve found to restore configuration communication to the unit. Am I missing
    something in the instructions?

    So, back to the basic problem, if I cannot pass data to the internet, the
    unit(s) do not even work in a wired mode. Is there something I’m missing
    here?

    Thanks for any assistance you may be able to provide in these issues. They
    have been a terrible frustration for me for over a year, and via the various
    forums in which I’ve posed the problem, now, a vexation for many others as
    well.

    L8R

    Skip

    Morgan 461 #2
    SV Flying Pig KI4MPC
    http://tinyurl.com/p7rb4 – NOTE:new URL! The vessel as Tehamana, as we
    bought her

    “Believe me, my young friend, there is *nothing*-absolutely nothing-half so
    much worth doing as simply messing, messing-about-in-boats; messing about in
    boats-or *with* boats.
    In or out of ‘em, it doesn’t matter. Nothing seems really to matter, that’s
    the charm of it.
    Whether you get away, or whether you don’t; whether you arrive at your
    destination or whether you reach somewhere else, or whether you never get
    anywhere at all, you’re always busy, and you never do anything in
    particular; and when you’ve done it there’s always something else to do, and
    you can do it if you like, but you’d much better not.”

  43. Any ideas as to what I could use on a 6 story apartment complex? The entire building is concrete wallls, floors and cielinns. WE have metal studs in the walls.

    I was thinking of placing an antenna on the main floor then some type of repeater on the the 4th floor to cover floors 4,5 and 6.

    Any suggestions?

  44. I am a landlord and we just implement a ultr low cost wi-fi system in our 54 unit apartment complex. We have had so much success with it that we are now selling it to other owners in the Albuquerque area. We have now added FREE Wi-Fi to our new Queens Point Apartment curbside sign.
    Please take a look @ http://www.apropertysolution.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=21&Itemid=45

  45. Visitors Mayhem Review- the content articles on this article is seriously a single of the most efficient substance that i?ve actually are out there throughout. I seriously like your post, I’ll are obtainable once more to confirm for new posts.

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